For starters this post is not about any Yagnopavitham. It is about a very particular one - the one that is called Krishnajina. Let us see if you can make out what it is from these images.

Let us take the Brahma ( Aihole region, 7th C CE) currently on display in the Prince of Wales Museum, Mumbai ( photo from various websources - apologies for image quality - would welcome readers from Mumbai to take a better shot to update this post)


In Iconographical terms it is the Skin of a black buck antelope !

“The use of animal hide to aid in Meditation and religion is outside of the scope of this post and please refrain from commenting on those lines. This is just a study on Iconography and providing samples to aid further thought.”

It became interesting when Saurabh Saxena did this amazing post on Deogarh and the much debated ‘ Nara Narayana’ idenfication.


Study the person seated on the left closer.


Now is the hide an apparel / clothing or is it the Krishnajina used as the sacred thread.

The answer to the question may lie in this Torso of ” bodhisattva” currently in the V&A Museum


You would agree that there can be no better depiction of the Krishnajina than this masterpiece - such brilliant workmanship.


More study must be done on this for sure.

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Category: Sculpture


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This entry was posted on Wednesday, August 1st, 2012 at 12:45 and is filed under . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

6 Comments so far

Arvind Venkatraman

Krishnajina - should mean black leather bag. The convention of using Deer Skin as the upper garment had been in vogue. In the course of time, the leather is replaced with fabric leading to vastra. Wearing of these garments forms a part of the rituals. The earliest form in iconography shows Krishnajina or the blackbuck skin used as the upper garment, this gives way to vastra (Vastra Yagnopavitha) in course of time, which is worn both in nivita and current fashion. The vestiges of this practice can still be seen today, in tying a small piece of deer skin to the yagnopavitha during the upanayanam ritual and in some places during the yearly reaffirmaiton ritual of avaniavittam.

August 1st, 2012 at 13:01

Excellent post VJ Sir. This reaffirms what I had heard from my grand-father. That before the use of cotton threads as yagnopavitam, deer skin was used. He used to say that as a young kid they would wear the whole Krishnagina itself unlike the small piece that is tied to the ‘poonool’ nowadays.
It is more to do with some kind of ‘Nadi’ I was told. The practice is even in vogue in Muslim-Mecca piligrims.

August 1st, 2012 at 17:40

How can they tell that the 3rd example is Buddhist?

August 7th, 2012 at 16:24

Jina - sounds contract to the Jeena / Jainers here in Tamil country the names for Jains, who are strictly the vegans! Now is it like the contrast or opposite is derived in this sect name, like Jina-Jaina similar to “repair: panradhu which hilds good for spoiling and fitting? Just a loud thought! Good post Vijay, and commentary by Arvind V

August 9th, 2012 at 14:43

படங்கள் மிக அருமை !

‘க்ருஷ்ண அஜிநம்’ பூணூலுக்கு
மேல் அதேபோல் யோக வேஷ்டநமாக அணியும் மரபு உண்டு; சாதாரண உத்தரீயத்தையும் பூணூலின் மேல் அதே பாணியில் சுற்றிக் கொள்வர்


August 11th, 2012 at 17:17

Devgad என்று இருக்கும்போது,
‘தியோகர்ஹ’ என எழுதத்தேவையில்லை.
‘தேவகட’ சரியாக இருக்கும்; தேவக்ருஹம் என்பது மருவியிருக்கலாம்


August 11th, 2012 at 17:30

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